Career vs job - following your passion

By Ruwani Mithrasena

Passion – Are we really passionate about everything we do? When do we feel passionate? When doing our jobs? When engaged in our hobbies?? What are we really passionate about? And if we are not really passionate about what we do, how can we incorporate passion to our life? Those are the few questions that came to my mind and which I hope to answer, by the end of this article.

Which is better? Having a job or having a career? You might think that the two terms are more or less equal and could be used interchangeably. But in reality, there is a difference between having a job and having a career. Let’s have a look at what that is.

The real difference between a job and a career is your attitude. Primarily a job is something you get engaged in with the intentions of earning money and most of the time that is the sole intention. You solely focus on getting the job done, without really being passionate about it, as at the end of the day, only thing you expect from a job is the pay check. You don’t aim to achieve anything more than what is needed and will not be interested in doing anything more than what is expected of you.

However, career on the other hand is something that you have to put hard work and effort to build. It’s a chain of events which takes you from one place to another, up the corporate ladder. Therefore you aspire to do more than what is expected and learn more than what is needed while fulfilling daily duties, simply because, you have an aim. Career sets goals, not only to get the job done but also to learn valuable skills, gain experience, build the professional network and continue in the field earning promotions and raises.

Wise people say that money is not everything, but on the other hand you’d be more comfortable in a sedan than a bus. Truly, money can’t buy happiness. But in the society we live today, we need money to do the things we love. Therefore, we have to have a career or job that provides us with that paycheck. But the real key to happiness is, doing what you love to earn money. Only a lucky few in this world gets to have it that way. But surely, you can find something that you are passionate about in what you do to earn a living. If not? By all means, you need a career change. After all, that’s what I did.

I started my career as a Software Engineering intern and later down my career path, I made a conscious decision to have a career change and become a QA Engineer. I liked to code and I knew that I could earn well as a Software Engineer. Based on those two reasons solely, I wanted to become a Software Engineer and followed a path that led me there. I became a Software Engineering intern and started experiencing how the industry operated for the very first time. Surely, soon enough, I started to question my decisions. Surely, I liked coding, but was I really passionate about it? Each day I worked I found my passion for coding dwindle. That’s when I started to wonder if this was really the field I wanted to work in? But then again, what about the investments I’ve made to come this far? Am I to throw it all away?

It was during that time of self-doubt, that the company I worked for at the time, organized a competition to find bugs in their latest product. The competition was open to all the employees and the winning team of employees got a prize from the company. Well, that’s when I realized that I had knack to find bugs. Needless to say, our team won the first prize and at the end of the day, I had found something I was passionate about. I also realized that there are more paths to a career than the very obvious one. I was faced with the decision to further pursue something I no longer was passionate about or to pursue a field that I found very satisfying. Making your career means that you continuously have to take risks to make your dream work. And today I am a passionate QA Engineer that could proudly look back at the choices I’ve made and be proud about it.

Chasing your dreams and taking risks to do what you love, is never easy. But I’ve learnt that, at the end of the day, it’s worth it. And today I’m one of the lucky few that gets to do what they like for the paycheck they deserve. Life is not about how fat your paycheck is. It’s about how fulfilled you feel at the end of a working day.

If I’ve still failed to convince you, let walk you through five more reasons to show you that following your passion is more important than chasing after money alone.

Don’t choose a job/career for the wrong reasons

From Monday to Friday, working from 9 to 5, sitting at a desk, punching keys at a keyboard, could potentially make you miserable. After all, you spend around 1/3rd of your life at your workplace, so is it really living, if you had to be miserable all the time? Not all the people get a chance to do what they love for a living. But the ones who had to select the wrong profession for reasons beyond their control, would gladly disclose it to you that, it wouldn’t be what they’ll be doing, if there was any other way. Don’t spend one third of your life doing something you hate, only for money. After all you only have one life and you should live through it and not just survive.

Make sure you are passionate about what you do

When you wake up at a Monday morning, how would you feel about work? The very first thoughts that enter your mind could solely determine how passionate you are about your career. Make sure you are doing something that could make you jump out of your bed on a Monday morning.

You are more motivated to work hard

If you are really passionate about what you do, it’s not a problem to work until late hours because you don’t feel like you are forced to do it, which makes the experience that much more enjoyable. Every industry has a busy season so you had to put more extra hours. So if you are passionate about what you do, it will be easy for you bear through, when you are asked to put more hours into the work you do.

No obstacle will stop you from achieving goals

When you truly appreciate and enjoy what you do nothing can stop you from getting your work done. Because when you are passionate about what you do, you feel unstoppable and nothing can obstruct you from achieving greatness.

Always be creative

Your creativity will die when you are stuck doing a dead end job which you are not passionate about, for the better part of your life. On the other hand, if you’ve taken your decisions wisely, you’d continuously look for and fine better and easier ways to get your job done, with your creativity. You’ll excel in your career as you’d have more energy and creativity to offer for the job you are passionate about. So always make sure you love what you do and always follow your passion.

Always make sure you are happy on what you do and follow your passion. “Nothing is as important as passion. No matter what you want to do with your life, be passionate.” —Jon Bon Jovi